Recommendation 4: Choose an Alt-az or Dobsonian mount
There are three basic types of mounts and all
are popular among stargazers:
✭ An alt-az mount, which is short for altitude-azimuth, is very easy to
use because it allows movement of the telescope in ways that seem natural: up/down (altitude) and left/right
✭ The dobsonian mount is really just a variant of the alt-az mount. It offers the same
movements but its simpler and more robust design tends to make it less expensive and more stable.
✭ An equatorial mount is designed to be aligned with earth's axis of rotation by pointing precisely to
Polaris, the star directly above the North Pole. When combined with motors, it allows the telescope to track a
target while earth rotates making it the mount of choice for astrophotography. But these are complicated to use
and good ones often cost more than the telescopes they support.
We strongly recommend an alt-az or dobsonian mount for a child's first telescope. Unfortunately, many stores sell
telescopes on cheap equatorial mounts without motors that are often wobbly and frustrating to use. As cool as
they may look, we recommend that you avoid these.